Think Creative Collective

The Golden Rules of Collaboration

Business BasicsSamantha JohnsonComment

We love being able to offer you guys fresh ideas, content and opinions. That's why we are so excited to have a guest post up for today featuring one of our favorites, Samantha Johnson of Flock and Gabble. The universe collided not too long ago and matched us up with the duo that makes up F & G and we couldn't be happier to know them. Samantha and her better business half, Megan, met by the unique fate of collaboration and the act of saying "yes" to scary things (exactly how Think Creative Collective was born) so they hold extra special places in our hearts. Today Samantha is sharing The Golden Rules of Collaboration to get you on the right track for your next collabordate.  

At Flock & Gabble, we're all about powering creative connections, collaborations, and conversations. We're here to help bloggers & creativepreneurs like you #findyourflock.

We're total collab-a-holics - a good collaboration is a win-win for everyone. For your audience, it's a little bit like breaking the fourth wall - you know that feeling when you see two of your favorite bloggers together on Instagram? It's pretty much the exact same slightly giddy feeling you used to get when you were itty bitty and you saw your favorite teacher at the grocery store. 

The Golden Rules of Collaboration | Think Creative Collective

Meanwhile, in creativepreneurland, you get exposed to a brand new audience in a way that feels fun and authentic, your traffic spikes, and best-case scenario, you make a new friend. Because let's be real for a second: making friends as a grown up is hard.

We're not going to pretend that great collaborations are easy, but today we've got a few simple rules to give you a head start on conquering your next collab.

The Golden Rules of Collaboration

Follow Up Unto Others As You Would Like Them To Follow Up Unto You

We get it. Reaching out to people you admire is scary and weird, the Internet turns us all into awkward turtles, and somewhere along the line we all got it in our heads that the people we look up to are way too cool for us and that we have nothing to offer them.

We convince ourselves that even though we miss emails because we're busy, people miss our emails because they hate us.

When we started inviting people to participate in our interview series, Flock & Gabble's website was literally a "coming soon plugin", and we had 300 followers on Instagram.

We sent every single guest three emails over the course of a month or so. And finally, after following up three times and hearing nothing, these emails started to roll in:

"Thank you so much for your initial invitation and also for keeping tabs on me, because the squeaky wheel gets the grease so to speak in my ridiculously overcrowded inbox. haha. I would, of course, love to be featured on your fabulous new site, and I so appreciated your sweet words and being thought of in the first place!" - gorgeous, sweet beauty & lifestyle blogger, 100k Instagram followers

"Hi Samantha! Sorry for the silence on my end - the emails get quite buried these days. The site looks cool! I’m heading out of the country in a couple of days but let’s be in touch when I return!" - incredible design blogger, 32k Instagram followers

"Hi Sam! Thank you much for reaching out! My apologies for missing the previous emails. Sounds great! Let me know what I need to do. Cheers!" - killer cocktail blogger, 10k Instagram followers

Do you see any scoffing? Anyone calling us lame horrible losers? ... no? Okay then. Spoiler alert: they're not going to think those things about you, either.

Thou Shalt Set Really Clear Expectations

Have the tough conversations right up front. Take a few minutes to picture all of the worst-case scenarios and your biggest fears about what could go wrong, write them down, and then address them with her. We know it sounds scary, but it's the best way to prevent disasters down the line.

A few things to think about:

  • What's the time + date (and time zone) for publishing the final product?
  • Who should you tag on social media? What handles? What hashtags?
  • How many times a day will you push out each of your posts, and on what channels?
  • Are you only publishing it once? What about the week after? The month after?
  • Who's creating the copy? The images?

Pssssst... can you keep a secret? Our free e-course, Collab Camp, is coming soon, and we'll walk you step-by-step through your first (or next) collaboration. Click here to be the very first to know when Collab Camp is available!

Thou Shalt Not Ghost On Her

Don't work with someone once and never reach out ever again. Send a thank you note ASAP (use Paperless Post! It's free!), then schedule calendar alerts to remind yourself to reach out to her every month or two. Need a few bright ideas on how to do that without feeling stalkery? Just for you: a handy cheat sheet to keeping in touch (no opt-in required).

There's obviously a lot of work that goes into pulling off a great collaboration, but if you stick to these golden rules, you'll be fine. You'll be better than fine - you'll be totally kick-assedly mega awesome. And if you ever need help, we're waiting in the wings to be your collaboration fairy godmothers!

Now that we've got the collab wheels turning in your brain, click right here to download your free copy of our 20-page Collaboration Guide, featuring interviews and advice from nine incredible creative women (Abagail & Emylee included!) plus over 100 unique ideas for collaborating with other bloggers & small business owners.